Free Comic Book Day 2011

Faye Valencia
The Inbox

By Jiggy Cruz
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Every first Saturday of May is special for Comic Book fans. Why? Because it's Free Comic Book Day! Yes, you read it right. Free. Comic. Book. Day.

How does it work? You go to a comic book store and you get a comic book absolutely free. But hold your horses. You can't just get any comic book you like. Free Comic Book Day is a special event that happens once a year and it's a way for comic book shops and comic book publishers to strengthen fan loyalty and get new readers.

Usually, the big companies like Marvel and DC have a special story that they release during FCBD. It's their way of getting new readers. Some companies use it to launch something.

For example, a couple of years back, Dark Horse unveiled Gerard Way's The Umbrella Academy and it became a huge hit.

An Umbrella Academy FCBD comic is actually sold at $10 now. And it was free at the start! So some fans actually get comics as an investment. But mainly, fans get it to check out the new stories and sample out new ones for free! Some comic book shops make it a big event and invite artists to be part of it.

Sandy Sansolis of Comic Odyssey has been one of the pioneers of FCBD in the Philippines and he has turned it into a mammoth event that happens yearly in his Galleria branch. He invites the Pinoy Artists to be present and do signings or sketches. Sandy also uses this to hold a special one day sale in the store.

We sat down with Sandy to talk about this year's FCBD.

You've been a huge promoter of FCBD the past few years, how has it been?

FCBD has been fantastic. It's been growing every year and has become a great focal point for publishers to promote their products. Since its inception almost 10 years ago, FCBD has evolved into something like an anniversary or a birthday for the whole comics world. It's a yearly celebration where people get to see what the wonderful world of comics is all about.

What do you think makes FCBD so special?

FCBD is so special because it has allowed both publishers and retailers to reach out to more people not familiar with comics. Aside from Hollywood films, most people don't even realize just how vast the comics world is. There is such a wide range of comics that deal with so many subjects, not just super-heroes. FCBD has allowed the general public to get a little taste of this vast selection.

Has FCBD helped you get more readers?

Absolutely. FCBD has definitely created more readers. Comics are a form of entertainment unlike any other. The enjoyment one gets after reading a good comic is an experience many people get during FCBD thus creating more readership.

What are your plans for this year's FCBD? Anything new in particular?

As this is the 10th anniversary of FCBD, we are planning to give out even more FREE COMICS. Aside from the usual publisher sponsored comics, we will be giving out an additional 20 to 30, maybe even more, comics from our own backstock to each and every person that stops by that day. We will be holding raffles throughout the day as well, giving out some graphic novels and other goodies. A few guest comic artists will also be stopping by on FCBD. And of course, we'll be having a huge FCBD store-wide sale where you can save up to 50% off everything in stock and all our back issues will be only P50 each.

For those who want to start reading comics, Comic Odyssey has a weekly email for the upcoming titles, where can new readers email you or contact you?

You can check out our website at where we post the weekly list of new releases. You can also e-mail us directly at Free Comic Book Day is on Saturday, May 7 at our Robinsons Galleria branch. The event will start at 10:30 a.m. and will last until we've given out all the free comics.